Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Music Meets Media: DIY Licensing

A well-placed song in an ad, videogame, film or on a popular television show can bring an artist an enormous amount of attention and income. But how does the music get from your hands to prime time? How do the songs get chosen? What resources are available to you?

Jonathan Eaton Musician, The Spinto Band (not present)
Michael Hausman President, Michael Hausman Artist Management Inc.
Dick Huey CEO, Toolshed
Richard Jankovich Director of A&R and Licensing, Rumblefish
Nick Krill Musician, The Spinto Band
Chuck Walker Director of Licensing, Muzak

12:30 PM EST - DH: Lets start with the rights involved with licensing.

CW: If you look at copyright law section 1-6, those are your rights as artists/composers. You need to be familiar with those rules. Rights include parts of the original composition, making copies of those works, and those for the public, and the new right to performance rights. The copy and distribution is the mechanical right. My best advice to an artist is you need to know what rights you are giving up.

MH: Also, licensing to film, tv, commercials, is a separate issue to think about.

12:33 PM EST - DH: What kinds of licensing rights are available?

RJ: There are tons of ways for music to be used. Syncronization, a service we provide (Rumblefish) makes it easier for the licensee to use the song. Usually it's separate, and you have to negotiate them separately. We are taking your songs and getting them licensed, more as an agent. We don't own the licenses to the songs.

CW: Advice is to get a plan together and figure out how you want to get your work out there because there are so many choices. Music Choice for example have promotions on cable all the time. Licensing on that is simple, it's a public performance. Musak will license the sound recording and the reproduction and the composition.

12:45 PM EST - Q: If an artist has a cowriter, how can she/he make decisions on ownership?

RJ: For Rumblefish, we require permission from all parties.

NK: In our situation, it depends on the song. It's understood that the person who wrote most of the song should have the final say but it is still discussed with the group as a whole. There is a common understanding question asked whether or not the license with help or hurt the band.

12:55 PM EST - DH: what are the different considerations for bands as the individuals or under the label?

MH: With licensing in general and as also discussed in one of yesterday's panel, artists are having to do more work. It's not a new model or but an old one, seen more as a straight licensing deal.
With Aimee Mann it has been a success because she owns a lot of her songs. I also work with artists who don't own their own masters (label owns it), and the money just doesn't trickle through.

01:07 PM EST - DH: Are the compensation models for this part of the industry all the same?

MH: The price people are paying for music is going down. TV has also been using a lot of music. Now everyone wants everything forever and has put people in a difficult position. Before it used to be a small part of the song for a certain media. At this point it has gotten to a take-it-or-leave-it attitude.

NK: The more finite, the better the terms will be. A lot of the stuff we do is weird and low key, where film makers will talk to us directly. Things are sometimes agreed on a handshake. It may not be smart business wise, but for band promotion, it has been great. It has also helped our friend's bands as well.

01:25 PM EST - Q: What is the value of licensing in adds?

RJ: ASCAP/BMI value adds more than actual programming. You'll make more money when it's on a tv show esp. when it comes into syndication.

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